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Court pursues plans for renovation of old courthouse

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By Ben Hyatt

The Harrison County Fiscal Court has agreed to hire Brandsetter Carroll Inc. to draw plans for a proposed renovation of the old courthouse on Main Street.

During Tuesday’s Harrison County Fiscal Court meeting, County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett informed the court that a firm had proposed an idea for renovating the old courthouse, which would eventually be used to also house the county clerk’s office.

“I spoke with a representative who told me that plans would cost the county normally $15,000 to draw-up and show what work would be done,” explained Barnett. “They said they wanted to see this project happen so they would reduce the draw-up to only $5,000.”

Barnett explained that the restoration would not take-away from the historical “character” of the building but only make modifications to allow space for the county clerk’s office.

“We have to do something to both the courthouse and with the clerk’s office,” said Barnett. 

No hard figures were given but Barnett explained that the project should be just under $1 million.

“Can we handle a $65,000 a year payment without raising taxes,” asked magistrate Brad Marshall. “I don’t want taxes raised but I agree that something must be done.”

Barnett explained that the county could potentially put the loan on a 20 to 30 year payment plan which would allow the county to pay the loan without raising any taxes.

The court voted to allow Brandsetter Carroll Inc. to draw plans and to give a more definite cost of the renovation.

Also discussed was the possibility of Bluegrass Community Action taking-over the services of the Senior Citizens Center.

“I don’t want to hang our seniors out to dry,” said magistrate Bradley Copes. “I will not vote for anything unless they agree to not cut any of the services currently provided.”

Barnett explained that Bluegrass Community Action has agreed to continue all services but will not pay any rent on the building.

“Rent is $1,517 a month which pays the mortgage,” said Barnett. “The county and city would be forced to make-up the rest if this came to be.”

The court agreed to look further into the situation before taking any action.

Finally, as a matter of record, the court was informed that seasonal and part-time workers would be hired for the Harrison County Parks and Recreation and deputy jail as follows:

Recreation Department, Cindy Taylor, Robin Glascock, Diana Watkins as part-time concession workers, Brian Arnold, Jacob Dixon and Chad Herrington as part-time workers for Parks and Recreation.

 It was also voted to hire Steve McCauley as a part-time deputy jailer.